Google.org Invests $2.35 million in Community Organizations Fighting for Racial Justice

Contact: Zaineb Mohammed, Communications Manager: zaineb@ellabakercenter.org, 510-285-8236

Oakland, CA—Yesterday, Google.org announced a $2.35 million investment in the movement for racial justice via grants to three community groups in the Bay Area. The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is honored to be among the first recipients, along with Silicon Valley De-Bug and OUSD’s African American Male Achievement Program.

One of the two racial justice grants of $500,000 that the Ella Baker Center is receiving will support the launch of Restore Oakland, a nationally replicable multipurpose restorative justice and restorative economics hub we are creating with Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. The other will support our campaign for Truth and Reinvestment, being led by #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.

Restore Oakland will house worker training programs, a food enterprise incubator, a restaurant, restorative justice programming, and health care and child care as well. Through Restore Oakland, the Ella Baker Center hopes to provide opportunities for low-wage workers and formerly incarcerated people and their families to advance to living wage jobs within the restaurant industry. Another goal of the hub is to spread the practice of restorative justice, an alternative to prisons and punishment that will hold people accountable, while still holding them in community. 

The other grant of $500,000 will fund a tech-savvy, grassroots solution to end police violence against communities of color. Cullors will work with grassroots organizations in counties across the state to create a rapid response network that will prepare communities to respond effectively to police violence.

“The rapid response network will help communities mobilize and demand Truth and Reinvestment,” said Cullors. “We need an honest examination of how our country’s long history of racism, segregation, and oppression has led to a criminal justice system that disproportionately criminalizes, brutalizes, and incarcerates low-income families and communities of color. By connecting the truth of our history to a way forward, we can build solutions that reinvest in the communities that have been most harmed by the criminal justice system.”

By expanding the functions of the Mobile Justice app, a “people’s body camera” developed by the ACLU of California in partnership with the Ella Baker Center that allows community members to record and report incidents of law enforcement abuse, victims and survivors of law enforcement violence will be able to connect with each other and share tools and resources about how to demand reinvestment in low-income communities of color. 

“Google.org’s racial justice grants reflect an investment in communities, which is what is needed to move away from a punishment-oriented society and towards one that provides care and support," said Zachary Norris, the Executive Director at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. "Through Restore Oakland and our work for Truth and Reinvestment, we will reinvest in the communities that have been most harmed by criminalization and mass incarceration and create opportunities for formerly incarcerated people and their families to achieve economic stability and self-empowerment."

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